Application Form

Q: What should I include in my CV?

A: You are not applying for a job. Your application is assessed by board members based on who you are as well as what you do, so your CV needs to provide the broadest possible picture of who you are.

  • Your interest in the NFP sector is a key factor in a board’s choice of candidate;
  • Express your values, interests, background and perspective, plus illustrate a genuine and proven interest in making a difference;
  • Try to give equal weight to your personal values as to your professional skills and experience;
  • Your CV should be no longer than 3 pages.

Applications and Selection Process

Q: What are the key steps in the application process?

A: Prior to the commencement of the Observership year, the Observership Program matches Observers with NFP boards. The right fit is paramount.

There is a competitive application process, which includes:

  • A rigorous interview process by The Observership Program;
  • Candidate CV reviews by NFPs;
  • Candidate interviews by NFPs;
  • Candidate ranking by NFPs; and
  • Final matching by The Observership Program.

It is important to note that this is a highly competitive process and only the strongest candidates will progress through each stage to the next.

Q: If I apply and identify as an applicant with a disability, will that impact negatively on my application?

A: The Program actively encourages applicants with a disability to apply. Please contact Belinda Da Silva ([email protected]) - if you would like to discuss your situation.

Q: Do I get a say in what Board I’m matched with?

A: To a limited extent. The matching process is driven by board preferences for the skills they are looking for in an Observer. Past Observers report getting more value from their Observership experience where their skills can be applied for the benefit of the organisation with which they are matched. Nothwithstanding this process, each Observer is given an opportunity to indicate his/her cause preferences and we do our best to take areas of personal interest into account.

Q: If I have completed the Program before, can I do it again?

A: Unfortunately not. In an effort to encourage and develop a wide range of young professionals, the Program can only be completed once per person. If you would like to be referred to a not-for-profit organisation that is seeking new board candidates please contact us on [email protected]

Q: Does the Program welcome applications from all sections of community?

A: Yes. The Observership Program is committed to diversity. We are looking for high level candidates with a passion for the NFP sector, from all sections of the community.

Q: Is prior board experience necessary?

A: No prior board experience is required to apply to the Program. An experienced board director is less likely to benefit from the Program as much as someone without board experience. Presenting to a board as part of an existing job isn’t the same as sitting on a board.

Q: What makes for a successful Observership experience?

A: Contribution is key, while respecting the culture of the Board and gauging when it is appropriate to contribute. Exercising sound judgement about the level and nature of your involvement at board meetings is important, as is joining a board subcommittee or getting involved in a strategic project if possible. Observers get the most value from their experience when they attend all board meetings and training sessions and get involved with a board project.

Q: Who is Eligible to Apply for the Program?

A: Applicants must be aged between 25 and 40 on the application closing date. Applicants must be resident in the state in which the Program operates and be either an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Q: What are we looking for in an Observer?

A: We are looking for talented, highly motivated, established professionals from a diversity of backgrounds, with strong credentials and most importantly with a passion for the NFP sector and a willingness to contribute. EQ is as important as intelligence and experience, as is an ability to conduct yourself appropriately and contribute to board discussions when invited to,  in keeping with the culture of your board.